18:26 GMT04 August 2020
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    The Austrian police have been hunting for clowns and street actors since Sunday, not just for fun, but because a new law adopted last week requires it.

    Clowns' Protest Campaign

    After a new law came into force, a member of Austria's Green Party, Klaus Werner-Lobo, came up with an idea to organize a protest campaign.

    He appealed to all "who have a sense of humor" in social networks to dress as clowns and gather in front of the Parliament building.

    As a result, the campaign has led to substantial and quite ridiculous consequences: at least 21 demonstrators were fined 150 euros each for violating the public order.

    Clowns' protest campaign
    © Photo : Peter Nitsche
    Clowns' protest campaign

    A Way to Tyranny?

    "The new law opens the way to police iniquity," believes Peter Nitsche, a professional photographer and participant of the protest.

    According to him, the law gives the police new powers, which they are likely to use in a wrong way.

    Clowns' protest campaign
    © Photo : Peter Nitsche
    Clowns' protest campaign

    "The fact is that under the pretext of fighting the Muslim mentality in terms of clothing, something completely different will happen," Nitsche argued.

    Standoff Between Police and Street Musicians

    Another incident took place between the police and street musicians wearing horse masks in Vienna.

    According to police spokesman Daniel Fürst, the encounter hasn't led to any serious consequences: The musicians took off their masks, talked to the police officers — and the latter allowed them to continue their performance.

    Thus, exceptions are possible, but the decision whether wearing masks in certain cases somehow disturbs the public order, or violates the law remains with the law-enforcement services.

    In other words, when a policeman tells someone to remove a mask, a person actually has no other choice than to obey; of course, if he or she does not want to be arrested and continue the debate in a police station.


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